Political science 2302


The written assignment will be used to access the Critical Thinking and Communication Skills Learning Outcome core curriculum requirements of the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board (THECB). A copy of the assessment rubric designed to satisfy THECB requirements is provided by clicking on the assignment in Blackboard. Once you click on the actual assignment, you will be able to review the rubric. The rubric used to grade the assignment is based on a 100-point scale. The rubric may be found under the “Resources” tab in Blackboard.

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Write a three-to-five page essay containing the following:


  1. An introductory paragraph containing a brief description of three subject areas studied this semester that you found most interesting and/or informative, and a statement about a contemporary political problem or issue related to the course that will be discussed in greater detail later in the paper.


  1. 2. Discussion of the three subject areas identified in your introduction. Citations and specific academic information gained from the course MUST be provided in both the body of the text and in the bibliography. The three subject areas you discuss MUST be from POLS 2302 and cannot be topics studied in POLS 2301 (i.e., parties, the media, interest groups, elections). Subject areas should focus on topics listed in the syllabus. In POLS 2302, one of your topic areas should be one of the three branches of American government. Note that your three subject areas must be distinct. In other words, you cannot write on three cases studied in civil rights. Rather, one topic may be civil rights and various cases examined in the subject area may be used to communicate your knowledge of the topic.


An example of a proper in-text citation is: (Davis, p. 18, 2018). An example of a proper citation in your Works Cited page is: Davis, Terri and James P. Nelson, The Texas Constitution: The People, History, and Government of the Lone Star State, Lamar Literary Press, 2017. An example of in-text citation of the instructor’s video lecture is: (Davis, “The Federal Judiciary”) with citation also provided in the Works Cited section. Failure to provide in-text citations will result in major point deductions in the grammar section of the assignment rubric.


  1. Identify, discuss and describe a specific contemporary political problem related to one or more of the subjects examined in POLS 2302.


  1. Construct and communicate a solution to the problem you identified (above).Make sure to develop and express your solution in the form of an argument that is supported by well-documented and properly cited facts and data. A good paper will have at least 3-5 scholarly sources in addition to the course textbook(s) and course videos.


Note: The topics studied in Module 4 including the Texas Constitution and Texas government may not be one of the three topics you select for written assignment discussion. Discussion of a Module 4 topic will result in an automatic 20-point deduction in your written assignment grade. 


Correct grammar, capitalization, punctuation, complete sentences, and CITATION of your sources is required. Textbook readings with page numbers (or chapter headings and subheadings for digital textbooks without page numbers) and textbook citation; lectures or video instruction (title and presenter/author of the video); and outside scholarly research must be included in your assignment.


Wikipedia/Encyclopedia/Dictionary/Spark Notes and other similar sources are NOT allowed and will result in an assignment score of zero.  Failure to submit the assignment by the deadline will result in a grade of zero for the overall written assignment grade. Citations must be provided in both the body of your essay and in a “Works Cited” section at the conclusion of your essay. Also note that references to court cases must be italicized (Brown v. Board of Education) or underlined (Brown v. Board of Education).  If you are using internet citations, you MUST include the FULL URL, title, author (if available) and access date.


Your written assignment should be typed and double spaced with 12-point font and one-inch margins top, bottom, and side.  Political Science as a field has adopted the APSA Manual of Style; however, you are free to use the citation style adopted by your major department or the style used in your English composition courses (MLA or other style).  Regardless of citation style, all sources must be properly, thoroughly, and consistently cited. When citing a URL, you must have the full URL, title, author, date of publication, and access date. Careful attention to grammar, spelling, and the mechanics of presentation is expected.  Wikipedia is not a reliable source of information.  Any citation of Wikipedia, Dictionary.com (or any Dictionary related website), E-Encyclopedia (or any Encyclopedia website), american-historama.org, Ask.com, bensguide.gpo.gov, biography.com, Cliff Notes, Collegeamericangovernment.org, ConstitutionalCenter.org, Constitutionfacts.com, Constitutionlaws.com, Constitutionus.com, Constitutionweekusa.com, gunlaws.com, history.com, judiciallearningcenter.org, infoplease.com, legaldictionary.net, legallanguage.com, nationalparalegal.edu, presidentialsystem.org, procon.org, Quimbee.com, quotationspage.com, Reference.com, scholastic.com, Shmoop.com, Socialstudieshelp.com, Softschools.com, Spark Notes, Study.com, thepoliticalguide.com, thoughtco.com, totallyhistory.com, USA.gov, USconstitution.net, UShistory.org, UShistoryscene.com, USlegal.com, The Bible, Vocabulary.com, youtube.com, Major Motion Pictures/Netflix Shows or TV series, Book Reviews, or anything similar in a term paper or other assignment in this course will result in an automatic score of 0 (zero) on the assignment.


     Scholarly resources would include journal articles, books, and objective news organization websites. Scholarly sources are REQUIRED for this paper, you need 3-5 sources BEYOND your textbook, lectures, etc. Remember, your sources should support the points in your paper.


THE BOOKhttps://openstax.org/details/books/american-government-2e



American political culture                             liberty                                                   personal freedom

economic freedom                                         political equality                               economic equality

democracy                                                          political efficacy                                Articles of Confederation

Shay’s Rebellion                                               Federalists                                          Anti-Federalists

“auxillary precautions”                  separation of powers                     federalism

“power map”                                                     Articles I, II, III, V, VI       Bill of Rights

Alexander Hamilton                                        James Madison                 John Marshall

Judiciary Act of 1789                                       jurisdiction                                          original jurisdiction

appellate jurisdiction                                      district courts                                     appellate courts

Supreme Court                                 en banc                                                John Roberts

judicial review                                                   13th, 14th, 15th Amendments        NAACP

Thurgood Marshall                                          stare decisis                                        “Little Rock Nine”

“freedom of choice” plans                           “white flight”                                     the “black codes”

monarchy                                                            republic                                                oligarchy

representative democracy                          majority rule                                      minority rights

direct democracy                                             totalitarianism                                   elite theory

pluralist theory                                 C. Wright Mills                   social capital

Robert Putnam                                 John Locke                                          Magna Carta

social contract                                                   Declaration of Independence  Thomas Jefferson

Articles of Confederation                             confederation                                   Virginia Plan

New Jersey Plan                                               Great Compromise                         Three-Fifths Compromise

separation of powers                                     checks and balances                       federalism

enumerated powers                                      reserve powers                                Supremacy Clause

The Federalist Papers                                     amicus curiae briefs                        selection of federal judges

writ of certiorari                                               rational basis test                             strict scrutiny

white primaries                                                Jim Crow laws                    de facto segregation

de jure segregation                                         Seneca Falls Convention               19th Amendment

“glass ceiling”                                                     Indian Reorganization Act            LULAC

USA DREAM Act                                               Americans with Disabilities Act

civil right – civil liberty (definition and distinction between the terms)


Marbury v. Madison                                      Dred Scott v. Sandford                  Brown v. Board of Education

Plessey v. Ferguson                                         Burwell v. Hobby Lobby                 Lawrence v. Texas

Shelley v. Kramer                                             Harper v. Board of Elections                        Shelby County v. Holder

Elks v. Wilkins                                                    Mendez v. Westminster                                Arizona v. U. S.

Korematsu v. U. S.                                           Obergefell v. Hodges     


dual federalism                                                 enumerated powers                      implied powers

Adam Smith                                                                       John Maynard Keynes                   laissez faire economics necessary and proper clause                                    commerce clause                             Tenth Amendment

reserve powers doctrine                                              bicameral legislature                      House of Representatives

Senate                                                                                  apportionment                                 districting and redistricting

Speaker of House                                                            Senate majority leader                  Senate minority leader

House majority leader                                                   House minority leader                   establishment clause

ratification of the Bill of Rights                    due process clause                          “selective incorporation”

1st, 2nd, 4th, 5th, 6th, 8th Amendments                         exclusionary rule                              clear and present danger

prior restraint (or no prior restraint)                        Miller test                                           exclusionary rule

probable cause                                                                 self-incrimination                             eminent domain

right to privacy                                                  doctrine of “implied” powers     apportionment

bicameralism                                                                     politico model                                   pork barrel politics

classic legislative process                                              filibuster


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